Rapid Urbanization & Urban Health: Are We Ready to Take the Challenges?
In order to effectively address health concerns of urban population, inline with the inline with the World Health Day campaign 2010 of “1000 cities… 1000 lives,” civil society needs to take active part to promote, support and protect health justice to the poor–non-poor and slum–non-slum dwellers of the city. Having realized the imperative requirement of a strong support, fostering and backup as well as an aggregate effort for awareness building and overseeing the proper implications of existing health policy and interventions, Eminence has structured Bangladesh Urban Health Network (BUHN) in collaboration with various national and international organizations. The forum intends to play the role of a pressure group as well as policy advocate for creating a platform for the stakeholders in urban health sector to work together for health justice. Eminence will also encourage government’s cooperation in this process for enabling meaningful and lasting public-private partnerships.
For formal induction of the newly formed Bangladesh Urban Health Network (BUHN) and share present status of urban health in Bangladesh, Eminence, with support from Plan Bangladesh, had organized a round table discussion titled “Rapid Urbanization & Urban Health: Are We Ready to Take the Challenges?” on May 9, 2010 (Sunday) from 5PM at Spectra Convention Centre, Gulshan-1, Dhaka.
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The session was chaired by Dr A M Zakir Hussain (Senior Consultant and Team Leader, Project Preparation Cell, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and President of BUHN).
Dr Ahmed Al Kabir (Chairman, Rupali Bank and President, RTM International), Dr Dhiraj Kumar Nath (Former Advisor to the Caretaker Government and Consultant, ADB), M M Reza (Former Health Secretary) and Dr Selina Amin (Health Advisor, Plan Bangladesh) addressed the event as Special Guests.
Dr Barkat-e-Khuda (Professor, Department of Economics, DU), Dr M Kabir (Professor, Dept. of Statistics, JU), Dr Peter Kim Streatfield (Head, Population Programme and Head, Health and Demographic Surveillance Unit, Public Health Sciences, ICDDR,B), Yukie Yoshimura (Chief Advisor, JICA), Dr M A Sabur (Team Leader, PSO, HNPSP, MoHFW), Dr Abu Jamil Faisel (Country Director, EngenderHealth), Dr Zeba Mahmud (Country Director, Micronutrient Initiative) were present as discussants among others.
The discussion was successfully carried out with a number of 39 participants from NIPSOM, UNDP, WaterAid, SSFP, UPHCP, KOICA, Plan Bangladesh and Eminence itself. A number of media covered the whole session.
The key gaps identified for urban health dangers in the meeting include lack of emphasis on nutritional status and Non Communicable Diseases (NCD) status of urban poor, ministry of local government division – who is responsible for taking care of urban health, runs short in capacity and manpower as well. The speakers called for formulating an urban health policy and suggested to include every other ministry (e.g. Ministry of Industries, Ministry of Environment & Forest, different directorates of Ministry of Local Government Division etc.) in advocacies and decision making on urban health. The participants have plainly emphasized that, though there are government approved strategies and action plans for protecting urban health, it needs to be supported by a clear, strong and sustained policy level commitment that is supportive of multi-sectoral models. Implementation of such plan of action will lead to generation of new information for improving the performance of the health system.
During their speeches, the speakers suggested BUHN to strengthen their network by keeping on organizing such discussions to ensure knowledge sharing among actors and stakeholders of urban health in Bangladesh.
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